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Topic Title: Guide: Flashing the BIOS on a RADEON 9800Pro
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Created On: 10/05/2004 03:59 PM
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 10/05/2004 03:59 PM
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Missile Maker
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09-13-05 UPDATE: Thanks to Overmind for the following link which contains just about every ATi based GPU BIOS from ATi and' ">

Flashing the BIOS on any ATI Video Card immediately voids the warranty!!

Only 9800Pro 128 Mb cards with the R360 Core GPU can be flashed. Do not flash your BIOS to 9800XT if your 9800Pro has an R350 Core GPU! It will not work!

To determine which core your 9800Pro has, you must remove the stock heat sink fan, clean the thermal adhesive off the top of the GPU with isopropyl alcohol, and read the Chip Engine identification engraved by on the core. There is no way a software based program can determine what kind of core you have, these programs read your video card’s BIOS.

It is highly recommended that the stock 9800Pro cooler be replaced with a high performance video card cooling solution (e.g. VGA Silencer rev 3, Zalman ZM80D-HP, ATI Silencer 3, or a good, water cooling system, etc.). Note: replacing the stock cooling system will VOID your Video Card’s warranty!

OEM Radeon 9800Pro cards also come on three (3) different types of Printed Wiring Boards (PWBs). Early Radeon 9800Pros came on the standard 9800Pro PWB. Later cards (it seems from about April 2004 on), from Sapphire, Powercolor, and ATI actually come with 9800XT PWBs. MSI and Medion 9800Pros come with yet another PWB (Green in color). This guide only addresses 9800XT PWBs

Also, your Radeon 9800Pro 128 Mb will have one of two types of memory chips: Hynix 2.8 ns, or Samsung 2.8 ns. I have the 2.8 ns Hynix memory chips, therefore I cannot tell you how the BIOS images for Samsung chips work; however, there are images for those Samsung memory based 9800Pros as well.

For detailed instructions on determining what type of 9800PRO you have, and an excellent source for doing this video BIOS flash, visit' ">, or click Here' ">
Another excellent source and highly recommend reading before attempting this mode is the forum at Rage3D,' ">, or click Here' ">

I flashed my Sapphire 9800PRO to 9800XT twice using two different BIOS images. I flashed the GeCube Radeon 9800XT 128 Mb Hynix 2.8; it includes the 9800XT Overdrive tab in the ATI Control Panel + temperature monitoring, and the Sapphire Radeon 9800XT 128 Mb Hynix 2.8 ns, which does not have the Overdrive Tab or Temperature Monitor. However, I down loaded ATI Tool 0.22, which does provide GPU temperature, and is a pretty decent overclocking tool as well. I am running the Sapphire BIOS right now, but think I will go back to the GeCube BIOS image, because I like Rage 3D Tweak as a better OC tool than ATI Tool, and I want the temp monitoring in the Overdrive Tab.

Here’s how I did it.

1. I identified my card as having the 9800XT PWB by following the guide at I then removed the stock cooler (there goes the warranty) and cleaned off the Core with isopropyl alcohol. Sure enough, an R360 Core /biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /> .
2. I installed an Arctic Cooling ATI Silencer 3 using Arctic Silver 5 on the core and memory chips. This cooler is the next generation from the VGA Silencer rev. 3, and fits the 9800XT PWB. It also includes integral RAM heat sinks, front (Cu) and back (Al). /wink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='wink.gif' />
3. I reinstalled my 9800Pro 128 Mb, and carefully overclocked the core and memory using the Rage3d Overclocking tool, a little bit at a time (about 5 MHz core, 2 MHz memory, each adjustment),' "> or click Here' "> After each increase, I ran Aquamark 3D, plus did a few hours of Doom3 and/or Far Cry, to insure no artifacts. I continued the process (took about a week) until I reached 411.25 MHz core and 364.75 memory (the default setting for the 9800XT). During this time, I also checked CPU and Mobo temps using Asus probe to make sure of no catastrophic heat increases. With the ATI Silencer 3, which exhausts the GPU heat directly out the back of my case, the temps actually went down compared to the stock Sapphire (Radeon) heat sink cooler and fan, which just re-circulates the heated air into the case.
4. Once I was stable at 9800XT speeds for a few days, it was time to flash the BIOS. Here are the links to the two BIOS images I used: the GeCube R9800XT 128 Mb Hynix 2.8:' "> Here' ">, and the Sapphire 9800XT 128 Mb Hynix 2.8 BIOS image:' "> Here' "> Both of these BIOS images will need to be renamed to 8.3 format once you download them to your computer, because DOS does not support long file names. I renamed the GeCube BIOS image “R9800XT” (without the quotes), and the Sapphire BIOS image “9800XT”
5. NOTE: Do not add the “.bin” tag to each of the new file names, because the “.bin” tag is already there, but not visible in the file name. This caused a bit of a problem during the first flash, as FLASHROM was looking for a file named “R9800XT.bin.” but saw the file “R9800XT.bin.bin” instead, because I had renamed the image “R9800XT.bin”. /sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /> So leave the .bin tag off when you rename these files. /happy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='happy.gif' />
6. You will need a BIOS flashing tool to flash these BIOS images. I used FLASHROM 2.23. You can download it to your computer from the link in rojackpot article referenced. You will need to unzip it, and then store it along with the BIOS images onto a MS-DOS bootable floppy disk.
8. I used two different floppy disks, one for the GeCube 9800XT BIOS image, and another one for the Sapphire 9800XT BIOS image. I’ll just go through the GeCube BIOS flash; the Sapphire procedure is exactly the same.
9. After making the bootable floppy disk, I copied the FLASHROM 2.23 exe file and the R9800XT BIOS image to it.
10. Rebooted and inserted the floppy so the computer would boot from it.
11. NOTE: You may need to change the Boot-up order in your Mobo’s BIOS if you have it set to boot from HDD first. Also, I have read on various forums that it is possible to do this Flash from a bootable CD if you don’t have a FDD, although I haven’t done it, so therefore can’t verify that it will work.
12. At the DOS prompt: A:\> I typed: flashrom –s 0 9800pro.bin (that’s flashrom, then a space, then –s, another space, a zero, not an “o”, another space, then 9800pro.bin). This will backup your existing BIOS image, which you will need to reflash if you experience a problem. NOTE: If you receive any errors after trying to reflash to the 9800XT BIOS, do not exit FLASHROM and reboot. Instead, reflash your original BIOS image by typing at the prompt: flashrom –p 0 9800pro.bin. If you do exit and reboot, you may not get your monitor image back, and then will need to reboot from a PCI Video Card. For complete instructions for when a Flash goes wrong, see the site referenced.
13. After my current BIOS was copied to the Floppy Disk, I now typed the following: flashrom –p 0 R9800XT.bin (that’s flashrom, then a space, then –p, another space, a zero, not an “o”, another space, then R9800XT.bin). This will cause flashrom to reprogram your BIOS with the R9800XT BIOS.
14. Note: For ATI 9800Pro cards (i.e. not OEM ones like Sapphire, Gigabyte, etc.), the BIOS may be locked by an ASIC identifier code. If you have one of these cards, then the command is: Flashrom –f –p 0 R9800XT.bin (where the –f forces the BIOS flash to the new image regardless of the ASIC identifier code).
15. During this process, which takes about 10 seconds, your screen may blink off for a second or two. Flashrom will then display a message like: 65869 bytes read 65869 bytes copied, and return you to the A:\> prompt. That’s it!
16. Reboot your computer.
17. You will notice everything is in Windows default setting of 680x480 or less. /ohmy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ohmy.gif' /> Don’t panic! /blink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blink.gif' /> First, check your computers display device (right click my computer icon/then click properties/hardware/devices/display adapters). You should see RADEON 9800XT secondary, RADEON 9800XT primary. /smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' />
18. Now, uninstall your ATI drivers, then go to ATI’s website, download and reinstall the Catalyst 4.9 drivers. Your display settings will go to their previous resolution once you reinstall and reboot. /biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' />
19. Open the ATI display panel. You’ll see the Overdrive tab. /rolleyes.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rolleyes.gif' /> Open it, and you’ll see the Temperature monitor and the Overdrive monitor. /wink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='wink.gif' /> The Core and Memory speeds will be set at 9800XT default (411.25 MHz and 364.75 MHz, respectively). You now own a Radeon 9800XT 128 Mb! /laugh.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='laugh.gif' /> Enjoy! /cool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cool.gif' />

For more detailed information, read the Rojackpot and Rage 3D references cited.

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